Flexibility with Deadlines

Regardless of a disability, all students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of courses, programs, and degrees, including meeting completion dates for assignments. However, some students have disabilities which can impact their ability to complete assignments by the due date, including, but not limited to, students whose conditions are episodic in nature, conditions that change and result in problematic symptoms, and conditions that require hospitalization.

DAS can provide verification that a student has a disability which may address the legitimacy of an extension request. Instructors should not compromise or lower essential requirements of the course and are not expected to take on an undue administrative burden. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, reasonable accommodations are intended to provide equal access and not necessarily success.

Determining the Reasonableness of an Extension

The ultimate decision regarding extensions and the resulting influence extensions may have on grades is at the discretion of the instructor. DAS encourages instructors to consider the following questions for each course:

  • What are the essential course requirements?
  • Would an extension (or multiple extensions) fundamentally alter the course?
  • What does the course description and syllabus indicate regarding late work or completion deadlines?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon timely completion of assignments as an essential method of learning?
  • Does timely completion of assignments constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • To what degree does a student's failure to submit timely completion of assignments constitute a significant loss of the educational experience for other students in the class?

DAS can work with instructors on a case-by-case basis to assist in determining what is reasonable for each course. There is no established number of extensions to define "occasional."